UK Politics

Viewpoints: MPs on the Iraq crisis

MPs have had the opportunity to discuss the ongoing crisis in Iraq, after Foreign Secretary William Hague made a statement on the subject. What conclusions did they reach, and what advice did they offer Mr Hague?

Sir Malcolm Rifkind, former Conservative foreign secretary

"Long-term stability in Iraq cannot be achieved until the Iraqi government accepts the need to incorporate and absorb the Sunni population in government at the highest levels, proportionate to their legitimate entitlement. Will the foreign secretary make it clear to the Iraqi government that serious support from this government will not be possible until that happens?"

Jack Straw, former Labour foreign secretary

"May I press the foreign secretary a little on the issue of Iran?

"Does he recall that after 9/11, and until, frankly, the Khatami government were undermined gratuitously by President Bush in his axis of evil speech, the Iranian government gave the British and American governments very good, positive and trusting co-operation in respect of the removal of the Taliban?

"Does he also accept that, with the current Rouhani government, there is an opportunity to build more positive relations, because the Iranians have a similar interest to us in ensuring their neighbour is a stable democracy and not reduced to the chaos it is in now?"

Sir Menzies Campbell, former Lib Dem leader

"I and my right honourable and honourable friends at the time [Lib Dem MPs] were unequivocally opposed to the military invasion.

"Notwithstanding that fact... I am sympathetic to the view that it cannot be credibly said that the invasion is the sole cause of the present situation in Iraq, although it is, I think, now generally accepted across the House that it has most certainly made a significant contribution.

"There is no question but that the United States and Iran have different motives, but as the foreign secretary acknowledged a moment or two ago they have common interests, so co-operation between them, even if covert, would be in the interests of us all."

Liam Fox, former Conservative defence secretary

"Sadly, it is inevitable that there will be a heavy loss of life and bloodshed in the region, but it is imperative that ISIL is defeated.

"Although that must fall to the governments in the region, primarily Iraq in the first place, where they have identified military capability gaps, we must be sympathetic and help them.

"The last thing we want to do is to send a message in advance that we have ruled anything out, which could only be of help and comfort to the terrorists."

Paul Flynn, Labour MP for Newport West

"The trust of many members of this House in military action has been deeply undermined by the terrible decision that we took in 2003 to send 179 brave British soldiers to their deaths in Iraq on the basis of untruths and the hubris and vanity of a prime minister."

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